Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Conditioning
What’s better, what should you choose, and whom to listen to when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Conditioning, because there are those who say “You don’t need conditioning, you just need mat time”, and it makes so much sense, or does it?
I’m not going to tell you one is better than the other, I’m going to tell you what works for me and what above all makes sense to me while keeping in mind that everyone is different and requires a different approach, there is no “one size fits all”.
Let’s say you wanted to be the best you can be for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, what does your body need, what do you need to think about when training? Let’s cover all our basis and first mention that, where you train, who you train with, who you train against, what your weaknesses are, or what your style is, probably affects what you should be training, but this article will be written from the general most optimal point of view and not looking at individuals, get a coach for that! With that out of the way.
You need explosiveness to act fast, surprise your opponent, and switch directions in an instant.
You need the flexibility to prevent injuries, to move freely, and to be able to resist submission attempts for much longer.
You need strength, because no matter how good your technique is, if you’re up against someone with just as great technique, guess what, the one with the most strength will win. Plus strength is not only arm or leg strength, core strength is one of the most important things in BJJ, without great core strength you will not be able to move or respond as is required. The most important areas to strengthen are; the neck, knees (stabilizer muscles), and core.
You need muscle endurance to be able to contract and keep your muscles under tension for long periods of time when required.
You need cardiovascular endurance, even though you should be rolling with minimum effort, in real life, this will vary from opponent to opponent and your game plan. You want to be able to not gas out and tap due to being out of breath, and not being able to provide the oxygen that your muscles need.
You need mental toughness for those times that your body wants to give up, with great mental toughness you will be able to push your body further than it thinks it can go, you will be able to resist that choke one split second longer, you will be able to scramble for just two seconds more, in a match this can be the difference between losing and winning.
Let’s get back to the age-old argument of “You don’t need conditioning, you just need mat time”, ok, working out should never replace your mat time completely, and ok, if your mat time provides you with everything you need, explosiveness, strength, flexibility, endurance plus everything else, then why bother? But let’s say you don’t get to work on your flexibility, because you just don’t get put in positions that test nor work your flexibility, whether that is because you’re still a white belt, you’re dominating everyone or for some other reason, you need to work on your flexibility to improve your game and to stay injury free. This scenario could apply to all other requirements. Maybe you just can’t make it to the mat that often and maybe you just love working out as much as rolling. Whatever the case, for all I’m concerned, some people don’t need conditioning because they have it all and are just freaks of nature, and some others do need it, in the end it depends on a lot of things, there is no black or white. And for those cases, there is one thing I’m sure of, and that is, here at Cavemantraining we design workouts that are purely functional for BJJ and we work on all the areas that a great BJJ athlete requires.
I’m talking awesome stuff that works your flexibility like nothing else with Windmills, Cossack Squats, Overhead Squats, works your strength like nothing else with Pistol Squats, Unilateral Chest Presses, Strict Presses, works your explosiveness like nothing else with Kettlebell Snatches and Swings …
- the shoulder range of motion and stability you’re working with overhead presses and grinding exercises like the windmill and Turkish getup, you just don’t get that on the mat.
- work muscles that are neglected on the mat.